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P. Miles Bryson - Alejandro's Carniceria

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Artist: P. Miles Bryson

Album: Alejandro's Carniceria

Label: Illegal Art

Review date: May. 5, 2002

The arrogant, proud man’s problems with P. Miles Bryson’s noise collage, Alejandro’s Carniceria will be myriad, as it insults all attempts to follow it through the haunted, static-washed barrios it roams. “Don’t make the listeners feel stupid,” the boorish, overgrown frat spud of a program director may tell you, and Bryson will certainly put some listeners (the arrogant and proud) at risk of feeling like they don’t get it. When the fuzzed-out, such-as-it-is refrain of “Rollin’ With the Hollywood Psychos Santeros” (which sounds like a flamenco tape played at half speed, perhaps by patching it into a tape-to-tape dubbing deck making a double-speed copy, with the predictable loss of sound quality) reemerges from the mist for the third time, one can only laugh or feel a bit alienated. The arrogant, proud man will refuse to hop on the offbeat ride.

The hopelessly insecure man, the man that can’t watch Eraserhead without soiling his drawers, will also find much here with which to take issue. Court such a man’s interest with caution, and accept his deeply offended, vaguely threatening phonecalls to the station politely but without commitment. This man will dislike you personally for playing P. Miles Bryson, and this is his loss. He’s got a long haul ahead of him, particularly if he lives in an urban area.

The suspicious man will think that he’s found some sort of Spanish theme here. Perhaps he’ll think you’re throwing a postponed, Over The Edge style Cinco De Mayo celebration on the air. But there will be much here to frustrate his endless attempts to draw connections. He’ll find himself simmering through minutes at a time of near silence while waiting for the distant echoes of Echo Park to return. The suspicious man sees threats everywhere, as he is a master of psychological self-projection. He will certainly join the hopelessly insecure man on the edge of his sanity as the children’s voices in “Soilent Gringo” celebrate, he will presume, his own imminent doom. When this little episode is immediately followed by the gunshots in “Rollin’ With the Hollywood Psychos Santeros,” he might incur permanent damage, for which he may be vengeful. He’ll call you up and quote Nostradamus. You have been warned to divulge no personal information to this man, so don’t.

The intelligent man will return to this album again and again to sift through its secrets. A pop tune loses the bulk of its appeal when all its simple codes have been cracked. The Lynchian carnival Alejandro’s Carniceria could take a lifetime to draw a good bead on. The less intelligent man will join the arrogant, proud one in his refusal to “get it.” Too bad he wasn’t exposed to more poetry and paradox in his youth. It might not be prudent to push this record as kiddie fare, but...

By Emerson Dameron

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